Arden Middle School is the recipient of four planter boxes built by students in Rio’s own Woodshop program.
Marisa Alcalay, the Arden Middle School PTA Beautification chairwoman, approached three Rio students with the project.
“Last year I re-planted the courtyard area where the students eat lunch so I wanted to spend the money on a different area of the campus this year. There is a back courtyard that is wall to wall cement with two trees in the center of the courtyard. It looked very uninviting and there was no dirt for me to plant any plants in. Last year’s Principal, Howard Cadenhead, a former Vice Principal at Rio, was the one who came up with the planter box idea to brighten up the long and narrow cement courtyard. I researched the cost of buying 8 foot long by 2 feet wide boxes and it was very expensive. That’s what made me think of the Rio Woodshop.”
Seniors Justin Jeffrey, Zachary Baumbach, and Travis Khan spent the first month and a half of the school year building the planter boxes.
“Mrs. Alcalay, who is in the Arden landscaping club, came to me asking if I wanted to build the planter boxes because she knew I’m in woodshop and enjoy it,” Justin Jeffrey said.
“We made a design, and I saw it as a challenge. I have never done something big to this extent.”
“The process of making the boxes was long because before we could start, we had to get the wood and draw up the designs,” Jeffrey said.
The planters were created using hard wood so it could hold up plants. The boxes were eight feet by two feet by two feet each.
“Justin agreed to buy the wood and supplies and spent the month of September designing, building, and staining the four planter boxes,” Alcalay said.
Upon completion of the project, the planter boxes were delivered to Arden Middle School and are now located by the courtyard in-between the classrooms.
“Current sophomore Courtney Shaw helped plant the four eight foot long planters with a variety of perennial plants, daisies, and pansies as part of her CIVITAS community service hours,” said Alcalay said.
The planters are now being taken care of by Arden History teacher Mr. Tjeder and his sixth period class.
“The addition of the beautiful planters and the flowers have brightened up a once grey courtyard. It does make a difference to everyone who looks at the courtyard or passes by it,” Alcalay said.
“I thought it was important that our schools work together and help each other. I thought it would be nice for Arden students and parents to see that Rio Americano students volunteered their time to give back to their middle school.”
“The students think the planters are so beautiful and I am very grateful to Justin and to Zach who spent so much time making my vision a reality.”